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The role of queen pheromones in social insects: queen control or queen signal?



The role of queen pheromones in social insects: queen control or queen signal?



Animal Behaviour 45(4): 787-794



The difference between manipulative control and informative signals in situations of conflict between social insects is examined. In large colonies, queens cannot be effectively aggressive toward all the workers. It has been suggested that physical intimidation has been replaced by pheromonal queen control; workers are chemically manipulated to increase queen fitness. However, this kind of control has never been conclusively demonstrated, and it is difficult to justify in evolutionary terms. The existence of effects on the workers due to queen-produced chemicals does not necessarily demonstrate control. These compounds are more likely to send honest signals, with workers stimulated to increase their own fitness. A series of studies in which positive results would provide evidence for pheromonal queen control are suggested. .

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Accession: 002994119

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DOI: 10.1006/anbe.1993.1092


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